How to Prepare for Deployment to Iraq
by Kayla Williams and Michael E. Staub
[Love My Rifle More Than You (2005)]
- Every night until you deploy, sleep in your vehicle. Or
sleep on a cot next to your vehicle.
- Sandbag the floor of your vehicle as protection against
improvised explosive devices.
- Get your semiautomatic rifle and empty a round into the side
of your house. And spread gravel throughout the house and yard.
- Find the most annoying alarm sound on your cellphone, and
set it to go off at least once each night. At different hours.
- Arrange for neighbors to wait until you are sound asleep
then come outside and beam a flashlight into your face. Have them
tell you that there's an emergency but then immediately change
their mind and announce it was a false alarm.
- Hire a garbage truck to run all day and all night in your
driveway for correct ambient noise. Keep a pit of manure burning
for proper fragrance.
- Practice being physically separated from your spouse or your
girlfriend or boyfriend. Communicate with him/her only via
cellphone, e-mail, and snail mail.
- Ask two hundred people you don't know, and don't necessarily
like, to live with you for a month. Make sure there are at least
five times as many men as women.
- When it rains, go dig a hole in your backyard. Fill a pail
with dirt and stir it with rainwater. Slowly pour this mixture
over your entire body.
- Once you are good and filthy, use baby wipes to clean
yourself. Don't take a proper shower for two weeks. Pretend you
don't know what you look or smell like.
- Handwash some clothes in dusty water only. Mix and match
them with sweat-stained and torn clothes. Wear the combined
outfits proudly when you meet with your boss or go to a dinner
- Never clean your toilet and be sure always to urinate on the
bathroom floor. Remove the toilet paper entirely. Better yet,
walk to the bathroom at a gas station at least half a mile away.
Always carry heavy equipment, a weapon, and a flashlight.
- Whenever you feel you have to pass gas, go to the bathroom
just in case. Every time.
- Take your once-every-two-weeks showers in public, preferably
on your front lawn; pretend not to notice that people are staring
when you strip.
- Only eat food that has been prepared by strangers, making
sure that you never have any idea what it is. Or what's in it.
- If you drink coffee, be sure to let it sit for several hours
- Drink all beverages – including water, milk, and soda
– either lukewarm or very warm.
- Attach a flashlight to the bottom of your cot. Whenever you
want to read or write at night, crawl under the cot.
- Before you use the telephone, have a family member unplug
the phone from the wall so there is no chance you can get
through. Attempt to make phone calls anyway. Don't let this
affect your morale.
- Tell your neighbors that every dog on the block may be
rabid. Gather up the dogs, shoot them, and burn them.
- Travel in convoys with your neighbors. Drive very slowly,
careful to avoid plastic or paper bags in the road (in case they
are explosives). Carry your weapon with you at all times. Point
it at anyone suspicious. Stop at every bridge and overpass and
inspect them for bombs before driving over them.
- Travel to the most dangerous neighborhood you can find in an
up-armored Humvee. Dig survivability positions with overhead
cover. Unroll concertina wire in the streets. Establish
checkpoints on every block and tell anyone who wishes to pass
through that they will have their vehicles searched upon demand.
Tell residents that you are there to improve their
- Detonate unexploded ordnance in this neighborhood in the
middle of the night. If residents are upset, tell them not to
worry, things are going according to plan. If they complain that
their living room windows have been shattered by the blasts,
reassure them and inform them that plastic should work fine. Tell
them glass windows were too dangerous, anyway.
- When your child asks for a ball to play with, have him find
the precise one he wants on the Internet, type up a Form 9,
attach a printout of the web page, put everything in an envelope,
mail it to a third party for processing, and tell your child the
ball will arrive in just a few weeks.
- Just when you think you're ready to resume a normal life, do
everything on this list again in order to prepare yourself for
the unexpected extension of your deployment.